I just got home from the GOP Fest fundraiser here in Polk County. I was a bit disappointed.
Don’t get me wrong. I thought the speakers were great, the food was good. The governor of Minnesota, Tim Pawlenty, gave an encouraging stump speech for McCain and Palin.
It’s just that the event was so lightly attended.
I walked in expecting to see a couple of hundred people or more. I don’t think we broke seventy-five. And probably half or more of the attendees were either candidates, current office holders, or party workers. Both my wife and a co-worker of mine were there, which I appreciated.
On the positive side, I got to spend a few minutes with former Polk County GOP Chairman Ted Gorman, and candidate for third district US House Kim Schmett. Fellow County Central Committee member John Bloom and his wife Judy (whom I met for the first time this evening) sat with us at dinner, and we had a great conversation.
Also in attendance were the new National Committee Man and Woman Steve Scheffler and Kim Lehman, Iowa State Senator Jeff Angelo, Iowa State House Candidate Larry Disney, Polk County Supervisor Bob Brownell, and Iowa District Five US House Representative Steve King, who acted as the MC for the evening. Christopher Reed, candidate for US Senate running against Tom Harkin, was expected but did not make the event.
We heard speeches from King, Brownell, Iowa House Representative Scott Raecker, and Iowa Senator Brad Zaun. Brad gave an enthusistic talk on the business of the Iowa General Assembly, and then talked about the leadership we can expect from Obama… highlighting the one hundred and fifty times Obama has voted “Present” while serving int the Senate.
Raecker expressed the same concern over the attendance tonight and encouraged us to engage with our neighbors, coworkers and friends more directly.
And Ted Sporer, current Polk County GOP Chairman spoke on strategies that Republicans have been missing the mark on and need to work to ensure we get the vote out. With twenty percent of the state’s population in Polk County, we really can make the difference in Iowa.
Governor Pawlenty talked about how Minnesota has not gone with the Republican candidate since 1972. This week, there is polling putting Obama and McCain in a tie in the Gopher State. His challenge to us was that if Minnesota can have that close of a race, Iowa should be to go solidly with McCain.
Take away from this event: we really do need to understand and reach Republicans, promote Conservative ideas to those who are still unsure of their own politics or who are willing to listen, and ensure that Repubilcans are voting this year.
Thanks so much to the Polk County Republicans staff (Sarah and Joe), leadership and event committee for working so hard to succeed. Keep up the good work!